By Brian Willwerth
BROCKTON, MA – For the first six minutes of the Division 2 South semifinal Tuesday night, Stoughton and Oliver Ames ran neck-and-neck. But from that point on, it was a runaway.
Playing before a raucous, packed house at Brockton High School, No. 4 seed Stoughton went on a 16-3 run to jump out to a big lead, and then cruised to a 68-42 win over the No. 9 seed Tigers.
The second quarter was when the tide turned. The Black Knights allowed O.A. just seven points after the score was tied at 13.
“That was the main focus all week,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “We just made a commitment to defense, and the kids really carried it out today… Defensively, I’m very happy.”
Aaron Calixte led the charge with 22 points, while Antonio Ferreira had a double-double: 16 points and 15 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive glass. But this was complete domination. Stoughton out-rebounded Oliver Ames, 42-21. The Black Knights had a 13-6 advantage in assists and made two more three-pointers than the Tigers. With every point Calixte scored in the second half, the “M-V-P” chants grew louder from the student section directly across the court from the Stoughton bench.
“We started on defense…we were getting stands and open layoffs,” said Calixte. “It was a team effort.”
Senior guard Nick Bruha led the Tigers with 18 points, but didn’t get much support offensively. The rest of the Oliver Ames team had just 24.
It was a convincing victory for Stoughton, in a game between two rivals.
“Every time we play, there’s a story,” said Gallivan. “Tonight obviously went our way.”
Stoughton advances to the South Finals, where it will face No. 6 seed Hopkinton on Saturday at UMass-Boston.